Next Step Alumni Spotlight: Aris Dagbove

By Vita Soto and Roxana Perez

Welcome to the first ever Next Step Alumni Spotlight! Every month throughout the school year we will highlight a Next Step Alumni that has received their GED to check in and see how they are doing and what they’ve been up to since graduating from Next Step PCS.

For this month, we sat down with Aristide (Aris) Dagbove who graduated from Next Step in April 2013 with his GED.

Q: Where were you born? How did you hear about Next Step?
I was born in Brazil and I heard about Next Step through my mom’s Social Worker.

Q: What attracted you to Next Step and how was your experience?
What attracted me to Next Step while I was a student were the professors and how they were there for me whenever I was having difficulties understanding the materials. Also, Next Step staff members were outstanding toward me, even when I was showing them my anger to get my GED and progress in life.

Q: In what language did you take the GED exam?
I took the English GED test.

Q: How long did it take you to pass the GED?
It took me about a year to pass the test.

Q: What was your motivation for getting your GED?
My motivation to get my GED was my family, because there are very demanding when it comes to education. For me, that meant that I had to show them I was capable of getting my GED as quickly as possible. Also, the goals in the back of my mind were a big motivation to me personally. Some of these included getting my GED so that I could go to college and later work for the government, which I have always dreamed of doing.

Q: Did you ever feel frustrated during your time at Next Step?  
Yes, what frustrated me the most was initially failing to get my GED after all the hard work that I had put into it. I couldn't believe it. Failing was a surprise for me, especially knowing that the pressure from my family would be even bigger the next time around. That pressure made me scared that I wouldn’t pass my GED.

What helped you pass the GED? 
The help from every single staff at Next Step, especially Scott G., Vita, Martha, Roxy, Susan, Torres, Jill, and Shira, allowed me to achieve my goal of getting my GED—they were the ones that kept me focus and that showed me it was possible to pass. It wasn't easy, but I learned a lot from that experience.

Q: What advice would you give to current students that are attempting to pass the GED?
The advice that I would say to current students would be for them to give everything that they have until they achieve their goal. Even though I know it won't be easy, they should always think about the not giving up because that’s the mentality you need to progress. I'm really competitive and while from time to time some people may have thought that I was overconfident in my pursuit of my GED, in reality I was just always competing with myself to get better, to push harder, to not give up.

At times, that competitiveness made me feel like I could not tolerate being lazy or relaxed or feel failure because I knew that there was a better future out there. Sometimes we just choose not to pursue our goals for one reason or another but I think the students should ask themselves “how critical is the GED in my life” and then set goals and compete with themselves so they can have something to look forward to as they work towards getting their GED.  

Q: What are you doing now?
I work for United Airlines. 

Q: What’s the best part about your job?
Meeting new people and traveling to new places. 

Q: What are your future professional goals?
I’d like to work for the Drug Enforcement Agency or become a Federal Air Marshall.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
My favorite thing to do when I'm not flying (for work) is to fly for my own personal leisure and play soccer. I like to travel and so travelling allows me to get exposure to new things and people that I wouldn’t get here in DC because it's so small.